EThe travel group TUI has discovered a new term and a new customer group for itself. Hubert Kluske, Head of Sales for Germany, calls this holiday species “energized adventurers”. They are adventurers filled with excitement and vacation dreams. Married couples who travel alone because their children are grown up were one of them.
“It is important to them that a trip is not completely prefabricated, but can be designed more individually using vacation modules,” explains Kluske. Because for the post-Corona period, TUI applies: “We are on the way from package tour provider to travel and experience partner.” What the group sells should legally continue to be package tour, but it seldom looks like this.
The “energized adventurers” should also be an economic asset. They booked higher quality trips. It has long been a trend that customers who previously chose four-star accommodations are now tending to five-star hotels. “People are willing to spend up to a quarter more on their vacation,” says Germany boss Stefan Baumert. Suites and poolside rooms are the accommodation categories that are booked first. And for the new bookings, credit that TUI had assigned to customers after previous cancellations was by no means used. 80 percent of these credits have already been used up by trips that have already been completed. New bookings thus bring liquidity to the group.
Short-time work in business in Germany ends
More income t fits the plan for 2022. “We are optimistic that we will return to normal next year and reach the level of 2019”, Baumert sets the course. The fact that lockdowns are again in effect in German districts with a particularly high number of corona infections, and that headlines from Austria even see holidays in the snow threatened, does not shake the expectations of the state-supported market leader from Hanover. Short-time working will be ended on December 1, both in the German headquarters and in all local travel agencies.
The German Travel Association (DRV), on the other hand, recently forecast that the industry will probably not see normality in business until 2023 or later. Baumert, on the other hand, holds: “Our confidence is based on the experiences of the past summer.” When travel is possible, customers book. In addition, their own expectations do not conflict with those of competitors. “I think the whole industry sees it as we do,” says Baumert.
Mediterranean destinations in the foreground
For the “energized adventurers”, TUI is expanding offers such as glamping – the luxury form of camping -, stays in chalets and smaller hotels. On the other hand, little should change in the expected hit list of goals. As usual, the Mediterranean region will also dominate in 2022. “Important destinations such as the Balearic Islands, Greece and Turkey are currently showing the highest advance bookings,” it says. For long-distance travel destinations from the Maldives to the Arab Emirates to the Dominican Republic, which traditionally have a smaller share of overall business in summer, above-average growth is expected.
Before summer, however, there is still winter to deal with. “In Austria we are of course currently affected by the lockdown. A swan song for the ski season would be premature, ”says Baumert. The season doesn’t really start until after Christmas, the restrictions in the Alpine republic initially only apply until mid-December. Numerous hoteliers are currently closed – but with the expectation of reopening in a few weeks after snowfall and an easing of the corona situation.
With the normality prognosis, the advertising for early bookers also returns. Advantages are the larger selection and discounts. “We will see another early bird month in January – albeit at a lower level,” says Baumert. TUI is keeping the flex option introduced during the pandemic, with which customers can buy the right to cancel free of charge up to two weeks before the outbound flight.
Economically, it has a catch: the surcharge offer is lucrative for the group if hardly any customers actually cancel. If, on the other hand, many do it, it will be expensive for TUI. Baumert is convinced that this will not happen: “Customers do not book their vacation in order to cancel it”. After numerous holidaymakers in Spain had withdrawn the right of termination last summer, the proportion was recently much lower with a view to Greece and Turkey.